Many horse owners do not give a second thought to horse clipping. However, if they fully understood clipping a horse, they might proceed with a little more caution. Horse clipping is not the same as getting a haircut. In fact, most of the unsightly hair that is clipped is necessary for protection from the hot sun and other elements. For this reason, most horse owners generally do not clip their horses unless they are preparing for a show.
Horse Clipping – When and How Often?
Did you know that horses shed four times each year? Although their second winter coat is not as thick, you will notice, long course hairs. Usually, you will only need to clip your horse twice per year.
The effect of your horse’s diet will be apparent following horse clipping. If your horse has been eating hard feed or a high-protein diet for quite a while before you clip, the coat will be smooth and glossy after it is clipped. The blades usually glide through the coat more easily with these coats. A horse that is fed in a pasture or on hay can also have a healthy coat; however, it will not have that glossy shine that horses on hard feed get.
It is important to keep your horse on a high-protein diet prior to horse clipping to achieve the optimal results. You will not get the same effects increasing the feed following the clipping.
Choosing the Type of Clip
Deciding which type of clip is right for your horse depends on the thickness of the coat as well as the workload that the horse endures on a regular basis. You should be able to tell which areas need to be clipped by identifying the parts of the horse with the most sweat.
It is always best to underestimate the amount to clip, if you are not sure which clip to choose. You can always clip the horse again later, but you will not be able to put back what you remove. Another important part of horse clipping, is training your horse to get used to horse clippers prior to attempting his first clip.
Some of the most common clips include:
- Belly Clip – Remove the hair just from the underside of the belly and neck.
- Low/High Trace Clip – For this clip, remove hair from the underside of the belly and neck up to where traces would be on a driving pony. Sometimes, the lower half of the head is clipped as well. The legs are not clipped.
- Chaser, or Irish Clip – Draw a line from the top of the head to the belly in a triangle shape, and clip everything it. Half the head is often clipped as well; however, the legs are not clipped.
After horse clipping, you will need to compensate for the lack of coat. Simply provide an additional neck rug and under rug. Take care to ensure saddle blankets, girths or rugs rub the skin. In addition, you can also use a moisturising cream, such as Vitamin A ointment to reduce the risk of chafing.